Frog of the Week

Guibe’s Mantella (Mantella nigricans)

Guibe's Mantella
photo by flickr user Vogelfoto69

Common Name: Guibe’s Mantella, Green and Black Mantella
Scientific Name: Mantella nigricans
Family: Mantellidae
Locations: Madagascar
Size: 1.1 inches (28 mm)

The Guibe’s Mantella lives along streams in the rainforests of northern Madagascar. Mating primarily happens during the rainy season. Males call out from spots around the stream to attract the females. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in amplexus. Then, she lays her eggs usually under a moist leaf. Females lay around 40 eggs. Neither parent provides any parental care. The eggs take around a week to hatch into tadpoles.

Frog is named after french herpetologist Jean Guibé, who kinda described the species and worked in Madasgascar. He thought it was a subspecies of the Cowan’s Mantella (Mantella cowani)

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Guibe’s Mantella as Least Concern for Extinction. This is due to their wide range and presumed large population. It’s nice to see a Mantella ranked as only Least Concern because many of the species are at least considered endangered.

Frog of the Week

Northern Spadefoot Toad (Notaden melanoscaphus)

Northern Spadefoot Toad
photo by Robert Whyte

Common Name: Northern Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Notaden melanoscaphus
Family: Myobatrachidae – Australian Ground Frog family
Locations: Australia – Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland
Size: 2 inches (5 cm)

The Northern Spadefoot Toad lives in savannahs and grasslands in northern Australia. They are not a technically a “True Toad” member of the family Bufonidae (side note – no species of true toads are native to Australia) but they share many characteristics. Both are short and fat with small hind legs, but the Northern Spadefoot Toad lacks parotoid gland behind in their eyes that contain toxins that Bufonidae toads have.

They spend most of their time underground, only coming to the surface to mate. Mating takes place after heavy rains that fill shallow areas with water. The males call while floating in the pools. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in amplexus. Then, she lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. Females lay between 500 – 1400 eggs. Tadpoles take 8 week to complete their metamorphosis.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Northern Spadefoot Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and presumed large population.

Frog of the Week

Bruno’s Casque-headed Frog (Nyctimantis brunoi)

Bruno's Casque-headed Frog
photo by Renato Augusto Martins

Common Name: Bruno’s Casque-headed Frog
Scientific Name: Nyctimantis* brunoi
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Brazil
Male Size: 1.9 – 2.5 inches (48.9- 62.4 mm)
Female Size: 2.2 – 3.2 inches (56.3 – 81.2 mm)

Do you know the difference between venomous and poisonous? Poisonous is where you have to absorb, inhale, or swallow the toxins while venomous is where the toxin is injected into you. Most people know about poisonous frogs such as the many different species of dart frogs. But do you know about venomous frogs? Maybe now you are thinking about the fangs that these frogs must have to be venomous but guess what? They don’t have any. They use a spike on their head to inject venom as a defensive mechanism. A single gram of their poison could kill 80 people. I wouldn’t try to handle these frogs without gloves.

The Bruno Casque-headed Frog lives in the rainforest and the coastal restinga shrubland, often hiding in the holes of bromeliads and shrubs during the day. They move backwards into these holes and then plug the hole with their weird shape head. This helps protect against water loss.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Bruno’s Casque-headed Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a large range and a presumed large population. Only potential threat to them is the increase of agriculture and grazing in the area.

*formerly Aparasphenodon brunoi

Frog of the Week

Holdridge’s Toad (Incilius holdridgei)

Holdridge's Toad
photo by Juan G. Abarca

Common Name: Holdridge’s Toad
Scientific Name: Incilius holdridgei
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Costa Rica
Size: 1.25 – 2 inches (32 – 53 mm)

The Holdridge’s Toad lives in the secondary montane forest of Costa Rica. They are an explosive breeder following the rains in April. Interestingly, the toad lacks vocal slits, making it impossible for the frog to call. The toads breed in forest pools filled by the recent rains and man-made ditches. Females lay between 45 to 137 eggs. The tadpoles take around a month to complete their metamorphosis.

Holdridge's Toad
photo by Juan G. Abarca

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Holdridge’s Toad as Critically Endangered. The toad was thought be extinct until it was spotted in 2009. The habitat of the toad has not been that distrubed, leading reasearchers to believe that Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal disease, wiped out most of their population. There is thought to be less than 50 total mature toads left. Luckily, the toads habitat falls into a protected area but researchers haven’t been able to captive bred the toad.

Frog of the Week

Poza Turipache Rain Frog (Craugastor pozo)

Poza Turipache Rainfrog (Craugastor pozo)
photo by Ruth Percino Daniel

Common Name: Poza Turipache Rain Frog
Scientific Name: Craugastor pozo
Family: Craugastoridae
Locations: Mexico
Female Size: 1.8 – 3.2 inches (46 – 81 mm)
Male Size: 1.5 – 1.9 inches (37 – 48 mm)

The Poza Turipache Rain Frog lives amongst the leaf litter in the wet forests of the western foothills and highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. The species is a direct developing, skipping the free living tadpole stage and hatching directly into a froglet.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Poza Turipache Rain Frog as Critically Endangered. The forests they call home have been reduced to make room for farms and human settlements. Part of the frog’s range extends into the Reserva de la Biosfera Selva El Ocote and the original type location is in the Zona Sujeta a Conservacion Ecologica La Pera. However, more protected areas are needed to save the species.

Frog of the Week

Rio Grande Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus campi)

Rio Grande Chirping Frog
photo by Hardin Waddle (USGS)

Common Name: Rio Grande Chirping Frog, Camps Chirping Frog
Scientific Name: Eleutherodactylus campi
Family: Eleutherodactylidae
Locations: Mexico and the United States – Texas
Introduced Locations: Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana
Size: 0.6 – 1 inch (16 – 26 mm)

The Rio Grande Chirping Frog is a small frog that lives in the leaf litter and short vegetation Breeding season for the frog lasts from March to July. The eggs of the frog are direct developing, skipping the tadpole stage and hatching straight into tiny froglets. Due to this, the frogs don’t need a water body to reproduce. They like to hide their eggs in moist, sheltered spots.

The species was once considered a subspecies of the Mexican Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides) but was elevated to full species status in 2018.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Rio Grande Chirping Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a presumed large population. They are quite adaptable to habitat disturbances like the increase of coffee and banana plantations.

The plant trade has brought the Rio Grande Chirping Frog to other parts of the US. Its native to the southern tip of Texas but has spread more north and over to Louisiana and Alabama.


RIP Mountain Mist Frog (Litoria nyakalensis)

Mountain Mist Frog
photo by Steve Richards

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has assessed the Mountain Mist Frog as Extinct earlier this month. The frog lived in northeastern Australia in the streams of their rain forests. Sadly, the frog hasn’t been seen since the 1990s. There are a couple reasons for its extinction including Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal disease, habitat loss, and climate change. Biggest reason I believe is because the people in power just don’t give a fuck.

Frog of the Week

Andean Marsupial Tree Frog (Gastrotheca riobambae)

Andean Marsupial Tree Frog
photo by amphibiaweb ecuador
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Andean Marsupial Tree Frog, Riobamba Marsupial Frog, Riobama Pouched Frog
Scientific Name: Gastrotheca riobambae)
Family: Hemiphractidae – Marsupial Tree Frog family
Locations: Ecuador
Male Size: 1.3 – 2.2 inches (34 – 56 mm)
Female Size: 1.8 – 2.6 inches (48 – 66 mm)

The Andean Marsupial Tree Frog lives in the montane forests Mature female frogs have a pouch on their back. They store their eggs in the pouch to protect them until the eggs hatch. This last between 76 – 120 days. Then, between 81 to 205 tadpoles emerge from the pouch on the females back and move into a water body to complete their metamorphosis.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Andean Marsupial Tree Frog as Endangered. It was once a common species but has disappeared from most of its range though most of its habitat in its range has also disappeared and turned into farms and urban areas. The Quito Zoo in Guayllabamba houses some captive individuals in case they do go extinct in the wild.

Frog of the Week

Mini Mossy Frog (Theloderma bicolor)

Mini Mossy Frog

Common Name: Mini Mossy Frog, Sapa Bug-eyed Frog, or Chapu Bug-eyed Frog
Scientific Name: Theloderma bicolor
Family: Rhacophoridae – Asian Tree Frog family
Locations: China and Vietnam
Size: 2 – 2.5 inches (5.08 – 6.35 cm)

The Mini Mossy Frog hides in the trees and shrubs of the montane evergreen forests. They are rarely seen but more likely to be found during February, March, July, August, and September. February to March is their breed season. The female frog lays her eggs in water-filled holes in trees.

The frog is for sale in the pet trade. Before buying a frog, make sure you are prepared. I wrote this post about preparing yourself for a frog / toad that I think is helpful. Just make sure your frog is captive bred and not wild caught. Mini Mossy Frogs are pretty frogs to look at but are nocturnal so you probably won’t see much action in their tanks. They can be housed in groups of same sized individuals.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Mini Mossy Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. Previously, the frog was assessed as Endangered but more populations have been found and researchers are getting better at detecting the secretive frog.

Frog of the Week

Napo Cochran Frog (Nymphargus anomalus)

Napo Cochran Frog (Nymphargus anomalus)
photo by Santiago Ron
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Napo Cochran Frog, Anomalous Glassfrog, Rana de Cristal Anómala
Scientific Name: Nymphargus anomalus
Family: Centrolenidae – Glass Frog family
Locations: Ecuador
Size: 0.94 – 1.06 inches (21 – 27 mm)

The Napo Cochran Frog lives in the trees of the Amazonian slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes. Its translucent skin helps it blend into leaves in the trees to help avoid predators during the day. While most glass frogs have a green hue to their skin, the Napo Cochran Frog has a tan one. That’s why its scientific name is anomalus meaning irregular or uneven.

During the mating season, the males call from trees overhanging streams. During mating, the female lays her eggs on moss covered branches hanging over the stream. Once the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the stream below where they will stay until they complete their metamorphosis.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Napo Cochran Frog as Endangered. It was previously assessed as Critically Endangered due to it not being seen since the 1970s. Luckily, new small populations of the frog were found and so the situation isn’t as dire for the frog. However, its still not looking good for the frog due to the destruction of its habitat to make room for more farms and urban development.